Sunday, March 20, 2011

3 Farben Weiß / 3 Colors White - Dedicated to the people of Japan!

The sun is shining bright and innocently into the room here in Dresden. A beautiful day is going to start so it seems - and yet this is just locally felt. Other parts of the world, such as Japan where people suffer the aftermaths of the earthquake and the adjacent impacts, feel the other side of nature. A week ago the troubles in Japan really started to go beyond imagination. Even with the experience of the flood here in Dresden in 2002 there is no real imagination of what people really suffer in Japan right at that moment. The past week feels like a century as so much and unbelievable has happened.

I'd like to share my thoughts and how it connects to the Semperoper and my passion for it that has evolved over the past six months.

A while ago I got some tickets for the public ballet training a week ago. A great chance to experience the "field" of the ballet training space as on Semperoper Open Day in September 2010. Anne, a true ballet and Semperoper fan joined me last Saturday on the last training for "3 Colors White". We enjoyed it very much - not really knowing the extent of the disaster in Japan. Seeing the dancers was like being at Semper2 where "Young Choreographers" took place a while ago. Being almost a part of the action as audience gives you a quite different sense what it really means to dance and bring the emotions towards the crowd. Aaron S. Watkin, Ballet Director of Semperoper, invited everybody after the training session to come to the 2011 premiere of "3 Colors White" the following Friday. On that Saturday, the earthquake and tsunami had hit the Japanese East coast. Thoughts raced round the globe to be with the Japanese people as the flooding of the Elbe and the rivers coming down from the mountains flashed back to my mind.

Friday morning shortly before 8 AM the radio moderator on MDR Figaro, a local music station focusing on music arts, announced a short interview with someone of the Semperoper Ballet Ensemble from Japan. My awareness rose and something hit me (I can't explain what it really was, some spark stayed in my head) - which followed my mind the coming hours. In the Semperoper Ballet Ensemble a small Japanese community of six dancers represent a culture so far and yet so close. One of them, Kanako Fujimoto, appeared in a short interview about her personal situation concerning the events in Japan. One could sense that she was definitely with her thoughts in Japan and on the other hand she felt that dancing is the best way at present she can help her people back home.

Feeling helpless myself in these times seeing disasters such as the earthquake in Haiti or the revolutions down in Northern Africa. Other than back in 2002 when I was in Dresden when the flood hit the city, it is much more difficult as an "outsider" to put your own strengths into action. My passion is about networking and leveraging knowledge across boundaries, mostly using conversations and use of communication tools. I love to be amongst diverse cultures and how they interact together. That is what has driven me to become a fan of the Semperoper Ballet and the Semperoper in general - a global multicultural microcosmos in the city of Dresden. At the end of the interview it was stated that the evening show of "3 Colors White" would be especially dedicated to the people of Japan in these tough times.

These thoughts followed me all day until I decided to give it a try and go for last minute tickets. 90 minutes before opening I was 5th in row in front of the main door. Seeing familiar faces - the card sellers on the place (reminded me somehow of my 1993 opera visit when getting a ticket was only possible through this way) and going through the very special process of "standing in line" which seems to be working England but not in Germany ;-) Got a ticket and awaited the evening - as always a booklet with the program and this time an introduction into the evening followed.

The program consisted of three quite different parts "A Sweet Spell of Oblivion", "Spazio-Tempo", "Diamonds" (where I saw Elena Vostrotina and Raphaël Coumes-Marquet again, this time not in training clothes as a week ago).

It was amazing to see the dramaturgic setting of the three pieces. "A Sweet Spell of Oblivion" only with piano and Bach music. The stage picture resembling somewhat of a membrane between the now and the coming future with a tunnel-effect. It reminded me of being drawn into the future, where nature is sort of deciding what's next for humanity. Quite still and calm this was the moment for tuning in the audience for what was going to come.

After the break Jacopo Godani's "Spazio-Tempo" opened new lanes of thinking, breaking the conventional thinking of the audience. Computer sound and abrupt tempi changes really challenged the audience. You could feel the uneasiness and the shift in the "field". The following applause and lots of whistles (was it just the fan crowd in the audience, or more? Pretty sure there is a growing fan community of the Semperoper Ballet especially after their performances in Albertinum and Gläserne Manufaktur lately). Jiří Bubeníček and Yumiko Takeshima took the whole team with them and one could feel the energy flow - everything looked so easy. It may be that when it looks easy you happen to see masters at play - this was one of these moments!

The third part "Diamonds" by George Balanchine, really got back the mood into "Ahs, and Ohs" when the new and with oversized diamonds set stage picture was revealed. When music of the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden sounded, the crowd really was fascinated and again connected to their expected opera experience.

So a great evening moved on and memories stick - still thinking about connections of thought I took from it (will write on separate post soon).

To finish up the four questions:

  • Good: Jacopo Godani, 48nord, "Spazio-Tempo", got a ticket, seeing different ballet pieces in the evening
  • Tricky: forgot to take the music journal with me
  • Learned: stay in conversation with people who come for being in the Semperoper (the beautiful building) yet not see the deeper learning experiences when seeing deeper into the process of what is happening on stage
  • Action: has been taken in form of writing down first thoughts

PS.: My deep thoughts are with the Japanese of the ensemble and all people of Japan in these tough times.
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